Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General

Dame Cindy Kiro signs the oaths at Parliament. Photo: 2021 Mark Tantrum
Dame Cindy Kiro signs the oaths at Parliament. Photo: 2021 Mark Tantrum
Dame Cindy Kiro has been sworn in as the 22nd Governor-General of New Zealand in a ceremony at Parliament.

After placing her hand on the Bible as requested by chief justice Helen Winkelmann, Dame Cindy recited the oaths of office in both English and Māori this morning.

She is the first wāhine Māori to hold the position, and is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu and British descent.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her address with a personal reflection of the first time she met Dame Cindy at Massey University, when she sought her out as an expert in child wellbeing.

Ardern said Dame Cindy's working life had been one of service and she would continue that as Governor-General.

Dame Cindy Kiro is the first wāhine Māori to hold the position, and is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine,...
Dame Cindy Kiro is the first wāhine Māori to hold the position, and is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu and British descent. Photo: 2021 Mark Tantrum
After she was sworn in, Dame Cindy said she wanted to use her role to reach out to marginalised people in society and also to acknowledge the unsung heroes holding the community together.

She acknowledged people were living in a time of immense uncertainty and anxiety due to Covid 19.

Dame Cindy was born in Whangārei in 1958 and is the eldest of six children.

She was most recently the chief executive of the Royal Society - Te Apārangi, has been a Children's Commissioner and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Auckland.

Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann will administer the oaths, and both Dame Cindy and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will deliver speeches.

Dame Cindy succeeds Dame Patsy Reddy whose five-year term ended last month.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (second left) with partner Clarke Gayford, Governor-General Dame...
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (second left) with partner Clarke Gayford, Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, her husband Dr Richard Davies and Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard. Photo: 2021 Mark Tantrum

Role of Governor-General

The Governor-General is the Sovereign's representative in New Zealand. They carry out a number of formal duties, including dissolving and opening Parliament, and giving royal assent to passed bills so they become law.

  • Constitutional - the Governor-General dissolves Parliament before a general election is held, appoints the government after an election, assents to legislation, and gives the Speech from the Throne at the State Opening of Parliament
  • Ceremonial - the Governor-General represents the Queen and all New Zealanders at important public ceremonies, including Waitangi Day and Anzac Day commemorations
  • Community leadership - the Governor-General is a patron of many charitable, service, sporting, cultural and community organisations.

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